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January 25, 2013

ALL THE PARTIES YOU'VE NEVER BEEN INVITED TO...

I've mentioned a few times that I work for a research and design studio called Department of Unusual Certainties. I've helped collaborate on a large range of work during my time there, from being strategic partners with Migrating Landscapes Organizers (Canada's entry in the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture (!)) creating large-scale infographic design, to designing and building public structures that sat in a park for three weeks in Toronto. Our latest project is a 15 foot by 10 foot video installation. This was my first opportunity to explore video editing and also be apart of Come Up To My Room.

If you are in Toronto or the surrounding area, I cordially invite you to All the Parties You've Never Been Invited To... which will be displayed during the Love Design Party at the Gladstone Hotel. The party will be celebrating the opening of Come Up To My Room (this is the 10th year!) and the closing party for the Toronto Design Offsite Festival. The video features party scenes from 150 movies and historical films. We created an "emotional algorithm" and clipped together scenes ranging between "hope" and "despair". For now, check out these pictures for a sneak peek of the installation :)

January 24, 2013

CITY SNAPSHOT: FLORENCE

After Venice, my grandmother and I took a train to Florence. It was my second time in Florence, the first being when I was in high school, so it was definitely not the same. In that same trip we visited Madrid, Barcelona, Nice, and Rome. Of all the cities, Florence was one of my favourites. It's easily walkable and I'm forever amazed that there are so many beautiful historic churches and statues around every corner. I tried not to post too many photos but I just couldn't resist.
1, 2, 3, 4. The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, or simply the Duomo. I think its one of my most favourite buildings in the entire world and not just because it's an architectural masterpiece but because it's just sitting there in a piazza with regular buildings surrounding it. Like, no big deal. Also the colours are just amazing. A couple times I would go for a walk at night but really I just sat in front of the church and was blown away that I was actually there. 5. Candles from inside the Duomo. Right after I took this photo the organ started playing which sounded like a track from the Phantom of the Opera.
6, 7, 8. Florence is interesting because (I feel) it's very small compared to other Italian big cities, therefore the buildings are very tall. This makes the streets feel very tight and sometimes dark but I find this very charming. I was in Florence for three days and it rained the majority of the time on and off. That didn't stop me from exploring and I found it so great watching people emerging onto the streets when it stopped raining, and then having the street mostly to myself when it was. Venice had tight streets, but the height of these buildings gave a completely different atmosphere that makes it feel so European.
9. Here's an example of a tight street but, no big deal, there's the Duomo at the end of it. I loved how even though there are tall, concrete buildings everywhere, you can always see the roof of a church in any direction. 10, 11. Florence also has statues everywhere. This is my favourite statue. It's called The Rape of the Sabine Women. It's so expressive and the form forces you to walk around the entire thing. It's also sitting in an arcade filled with maybe ten other statues. Sitting there I had one of those "I can't even believe I'm here" moments. 12. I see London, I see France, I see David's ... butt.
13. Toronto doesn't have a carousel but even if we did it wouldn't be nearly as romantic as the ones in Europe. If I could do a tour of the carousels in Europe I'd be a happy girl. So far I've seen three: Paris, Cannes, Florence. I sat in front of this carousel one night for a good 45 minutes before paying only a couple Euro for a solo ride. 14. City life. My fav. This photo was taken from a window inside the Uffizi Gallery. 15. I can't wait for summer so I can ride my bike again. This bike is perfect. This setting is perfect.

See more posts about this trip:

For all the cities I've travelled to, go here.

January 20, 2013

FALLING WATER: EXTERIOR

About two years ago I drove to Pennsylvania to see Falling Water. Frank Lloyd Wright is my absolute favourite architect and this house is, in my opinion, the most beautiful building in the entire world. I saw it in June at around 4:30 pm and it was stunning. I definitely plan on going back to see it throughout different seasons in the year. 

1. The classic view of Falling Water. The story is the Kaufmanns wanted to build a cottage close to a waterfall they loved on their property. Frank Lloyd Wright decided to built it over the waterfall and the rest is history. The house was completed in 1939.
2, 3. The tour begins at the Visitor Centre and the house is about a five minute walk through a lush forest. I was the happiest girl once I turned the corner, and there she was :) 4. I absolutely love the colours and textures of the materials he uses. Everything is so natural which makes the house feel as if its always been sitting there among the trees. 
5. This house is all about the details. Look at the way that everything just fits together. Yes, those windows butt right up against the stone. Arg. 6. He changes the architecture to literally work around the landscape. Just, perfect. 7. This is on one of the patios. Beneath the green roof are windows for one of the bathrooms. Every bedroom has a bathroom. Every bathroom has a window. It doesn't get more perfect then this. 8. Yupp, those are stairs leading from the living room right into the top of the water fall.
9. Every main living space and the larger bedrooms have access to a patio. This one is off of a bedroom. 10. The balcony that cantilevers over the waterfall, as seen from a balcony leading to the top floor. 11. You can see how short the ledges are for the balconies. If you've been to the Guggenheim in New York, also designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, you'll notice those ledges are also super short!
12. There are many exterior stairways and each of them are again so incredibly detailed and unique. 13. This staircase leads you to the guest house. Its covered to protect you from the elements and its a visual representation of the physical act of climbing the stairs. I love it. 14. This is the exit from the house before proceeding to the guest house, pictured in the background. Again, look at the rounded covering. You're making a turn and climbing the stairs and he emphasizes this in every gesture. 
I had a professor in university who asked me who my favourite architect was. I said Frank Lloyd Wright and he laughed at me then referred me to a couple of modern architects. This building is one of the reasons why I love architecture and design, and I'll never stop knowing that Frank Lloyd Wright is a dream. I'll be posting interior shots soon, so stay tuned!

January 18, 2013

LATELY, IN MOVIES

I me wed is a made-for-tv I reluctantly watched and thought was rather disappointing. It started off great, you know, a woman trying to break the rules and marry herself to prove to her friends she doesn't need a man to be happy. But what happens? Of course, she ends up finding a man and plans change. Mermaids is one of my all-time favourite movies but any chance its on tv I hesitate to watch it because the drowning scene is always too intense for me. But how could I not watch it. I only ever see Shallow Hal when its playing on tv (I was home for a while, so thank you cable). Its one of my fav rom-coms ever.

Besides my overload on rom-coms lately, I've been trying to watch all of the nominated movies. Django Unchained blew my mind. Right off the bat you know its a Quentin Tarantino movie and I loved every minute of it. I've decided to watch all of his films from start to finish because I hear they're secretly, but not so secretly linked. Argo was incredible and had my heart racing the entire time. I still can't believe its a true story. I've been wanting to see Silver Linings Playbook as its getting so much buzz. I had no idea what it was about and thought it was frantic, but in a way that really made you feel how the characters felt. It was different then any of the rom-coms previously listed, but I got my "aweee" at the end and it left my heart happy. Watch these three movies! Which Oscar nominated movies do you recommend for me next?

January 17, 2013

DIY: WEIRD STUFFED DOLL

I have a niece and nephew and I've started to think about making them dolls. I had a bit of fabric left over from my DIY Cocoon Cardigan project so I thought I would try making one since I never have before. I think this doll is super weird and I'm not sure if it's right for a 22 month old and a 4 month old, so I've decided to keep him for myself. It was good practice and only took about an hour and a half - I came up with the idea and completed the prep (everything but sewing and stuffing) while waiting for my dinner to be ready.
All you need is some fabric, polyester stuffing and yarn for the detailing.
 I sketched out a quick design and then I drew it on my fabric. Cut out one side of the fabric and then trace it and cut it out of another piece of fabric.
Stitch two little balls for the eyes or any other detailing on to the single pieces of fabric.
Pin your two pieces of fabric together inside out. I used a sewing machine to stitch the doll but depending on the size I think it's totally doable stitching it by hand. Since these legs are so tiny I tried to stitch as close as possible to the edge of the fabric as I could. Make sure you leave a hole for stuffing. I used a knitting needle to get the stuffing into the legs.
I hand stitched the top of the doll closed. It's the only part of the doll that shows stitching in the seams. If anyone has any tips how to hand sew something like this shut, please let me know!
Ta da! In the end I think its super weird but somehow it's kind of cute. Maybe? Oh well I made my first doll and I'm stoked. My favourite part is it's gangly chicken legs.

January 14, 2013

CITY SNAPSHOT: MURANO + BURANO

There are many islands that surround Venice. Murano and Burano are two of them. I unfortunately never made it to Lido (where the beach and the film festival takes place) but all the more reason to go back, amirite? Murano is known for its glass and Burano is known for its lace. One day while in Venice, we decided to take a day trip to visit both of these islands.

Murano:
1, 2, 3. As soon as we got off the boat we were whisked into watching a demonstration of blown glass. It was interesting but obviously a tourist trap since they tried to lead us right to their shop after. The main strip could be mistaken for Venice except every shop is selling beautiful glass! They sell everything from little, cheap trinkets to chandeliers, tables, and other intricate pieces worth tens of thousands of dollars. My favourite shop sold tiny pieces of glass that is used for mosaics, or whatever you choose. I bought a bag of sea green tiles and I'm planning on making something with it.
4. Laundry. I was sucked in to this piazza. 5. This picture reminds me how simple the Italian lifestyle is.  And also reminds me that I intended on bringing simplicity and peacefulness back with me to Toronto! Still workin' on that one...
6, 7. Travelling between islands was interesting. I was in Venice at the end of August so it was still packed with tourists. I think I finally stopped feeling the rocking of the boats a week later when we got to Rome.

Burano:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I could of taken a million photographs of Burano. They say that each home is painted a different colour so the fishermen could identify which house is theirs. This tiny island is so romantic. We got there at about 2 pm and everything was just about to close so it was nice and quiet. Yes. In Italy shops close in the middle of the day so they can go home, nap, and be refreshed for the evening.
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. The lace shops were beautiful and the staff eager to sell you everything. My favourite part of these buildings were the unique storefronts and the fabric acting as doors just blowing in the wind. Surprise, surprise. Each home/ shop was so well maintained and had so many beautiful details. I'll see you again soon, Burano.

See more posts from this trip:
Venice
Breakfast in Italy
Pizza
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